Press Release:- The Saint Lucia Labour Party continues to hear the cries of the many vulnerable and poor persons especially those with disabilities who have had to endure unacceptable, painful delays in the payments of monthly public assistance stipends by Governments. Delays as much as two months in many cases.
The Saint Lucia Labour Party understands what the poor and people with disabilities who rely on these payments are going through.
It was under an SLP government that the subvention to the Council for Persons with Disabilities was increased by 200% in 1997.
It was under an SLP government that public assistance payments and social safety nets were given greater value and respect and we understand how much people are suffering in this country.
We give our commitment, that when The Saint Lucia Labour Party forms the next government; we will increase individual Public Assistance and disability stipends.
We understand that prices have gone up across the economy and public assistance payments must reflect this.
The impact of this delay on households, especially those with children is a disgrace. This government needs to act now and pay all outstanding stipends to the poor and people with disabilities.
The Minister for Equity, the Member for Gros Islet, gave the inaccurate impression to the media that The President of The National Council for Persons with Disabilities did not try to contact him or his ministry to find out why public assistance payments to the poor persons with disabilities of this country were delayed.
What is also interesting is that here you have a minister of government, who pledged to serve the people of this country, suggesting that the onus is on the people who he serves to contact him and his ministry to find out why they are being made to suffer more.
This is a time when the most vulnerable amongst us should be the number one and number two priority. For most of them this delay means starvation and falling into depression, anxiety and further ill health.
COVID-19 cannot be used as an excuse by this UWP administration to delay Public Assistance payments, a time when building resilience to this economic shock is paramount.
In November 2019, Allen Chastanet signed a document to commit Saint Lucia to the UN Convention on The Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
In November 2019 what had to happen next was for this document simply to be delivered to the UN Headquarters in New York to make Saint Lucia an official state party to the Convention.
Signing is one thing, delivering is something else and this administration has proven that it cannot deliver on the most basic of things.
Again, we urge this Government to provide the timely payment of stipends to the poor and people with disabilities.
“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members”; show us that you care UWP administration.
Saint Lucians, call and write your Member of Parliament, urge the Minister of Equity and the Prime Minister to show compassion and pay the stipends for the poor and people with disabilities now.